Posted September 13, 2010
In its 29th year, the Idaho State University Pocatello Pump set Sept. 18 and 19 is the oldest bouldering competition in the United States.
It takes place on the basalt cliffs of Pocatello’s Ross Park, and runs from 8 a.m. to early afternoon Saturday, Sept. 18. The Pump takes most of the afternoon off so participants can take advantage of the CW HOG Pig Out dinner adjacent to the climbing area. Climbing resumes Sunday, Sept. 19, at 7 a.m. The awards ceremony is at 6 p.m.
The cost for preregistrants before Friday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. is $30. Those registering on-site pay $35. All participants receive a custom Pocatello Pump T-shirt. To preregister, contact the ISU Outdoor Adventure Center, 282-3912, ISU Campus Box 8128, drop by the office in the Pond Student Union Building, or register online at .
Climbers from all over the Intermountain West will be participate in hopes of winning one of the most coveted trophies the Pocatello Pump mug, according to Peter Joyce, Pump organizer. “What’s at stake here after all? A coffee mug!” a climber was overheard saying to another a few years back. At the same time he was pointing out a key hold to his competitor on the adjacent climb. The Pocatello Pump has turned into what is known as a friendly competition. The male and female winners of each of the 10 categories earn the right to drink from “the mug.” However even the climbers that place dead last have the same luck of the draw for the many gear prizes.
To down play the competitive aspect of the “Pump,” climbers participate in categories named after well known climbing destinations. City of Rock, Smith Rocks, or the Shawangunks rather than beginner, advanced, expert, help to quell egos, too. For those who just want to climb and avoid the competition, the Massacre Rocks climbers choose their winner by pulling a name from a hat. All abilities and ages are welcome and encouraged at the “Pump”.
The Pocatello Pump attributes its longevity based on the fact the event supports the climbing community that climb in the event. All profits are donated to the Access Fund, a climber’s scholarship at Idaho State University, and anchor replacement projects at local climbing areas.
The City of Pocatello Parks and Recreation department recently made vast improvements to the climbing areas the local affectionately refer to “Sunny or Shady Side.” A kids climbing area, complete with anchors has been a welcome touch to the Shady Side. New approach trails and staging areas on the Sunny Side has enhanced the climbing experience. The improvements were made with the help of a grant from the Access Fund.
“I’m looking forward to unveiling the new areas at the Pump this year,” Joyce said. “It’s a great example of the climber’s entry fee going to their benefit.”
Contact the ISU Outdoor Adventure Center at or 282-3912 for more information.